I have to acknowledge there is a new national soybean record and it was in Georgia, not necessarily a soybean-friendly environment like Central Illinois.

We now have an official soybean yield record on a field scale—171.8 bushels—achieved by Randy Dowdy in Georgia. It surpasses the 2010 record of 160.6 bushels set by Kip Cullers in Missouri. Dowdy’s yield was verified on August 29th, 2016, by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. In a local press release Jared Whitaker, Extension Agronomist with the University of Georgia, said “This undoubtedly is an astonishing feat and my personal congratulations are extended to Randy for his achievement and efforts.”

Dowdy is not a novice at yield contests, having set the national corn yield record of 503 bushels and winning the NCGA contests in 2014 and again in 2015. Growers don’t become contest winners overnight and they achieve this status by assembling a team of experts, a lot of trial and error, and testing this and that. After a while you get to know your soils and environment and what it takes to achieve record-setting yields. According to Dowdy achieving this result was a 3-year team effort.

  • Prior to 3 years ago he only grew soybeans double-cropped after corn and considered himself a soybean novice
  • Entered the University of Georgia soybean yield contest and broke 100 bushels in both 2014 and 2015
  • Set a new record of 171.8 bushels per acre across a 3.15-acre harvest area
  • Irrigated at night to prevent cold water shock
  • Fertility based on soil tests, yield goals and tissue testing (included foliar feeding)
  • Planted a USG (UniSouth Genetic) variety 74A74 with 4.7 maturity and treated seed
  • Planted plot area on April 22 and 23 and harvested August 29
  • Planted in 15-inch rows with a rate of 156,000 seeds per acre
  • Foliar plant protection to minimize stress
  • Weekly scouting with frequent plant sampling and routine moisture monitoring
  • Team includes University of Georgia staff (John Woodruff, Eddie McGriff), Brandt (Illinois-based retailer and product supplier), Genesis Ag, Southeastern Ag Lab, Southern States Cooperative,
  • DuPont Pioneer (Dan Poston), BASF (AJ Woodyard from Illinois) among others
  • Part of a Pioneer-sponsored consortium of high-yield plots exploring how to grow high-yield soybeans

A press conference doesn’t reveal many details of all the practices and products applied, and as a contest grower he probably will never reveal all his secrets. They rarely do. However, some answers will come out in a Q&A with farmer audiences. That will be very revealing and I am interested in learning more.

An article on the win can be seen at http://m.southeastfarmpress.com/soybeans/171-bushel-soybeans-officially-recorded-georgia. Also, the press conference recording is posted on BASF’s crop protection Facebook page and is worth listening to.

Agronomist Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., posts blogs on agronomy-related topics. Feel free to contact him at djdavidson@agwrite.com or ring him at 402-649-5919.

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About the Author: Dan Davidson

Soybean agronomist Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., posts blogs on topics related to soybean agronomy. Feel free to contact him at djdavidson@agwrite.com or ring him at 402-649-5919.